Recruiter Interview Questions

When hiring a Recruiter, you are hiring the person responsible for finding the best possible talent for your team. A successful Recruiter will have outstanding communication skills, genuine curiosity, and know how to source top talent for any position. 

It is important to tailor your interview to your unique company environment. Whether you are looking to hire a large number of new staff employees in a short window of time, or a few senior executives over the course of a year, ensure the Recruiter candidate has the knowledge and experience that suits your needs. For example, if you are looking to hire in volume for a call center, confirm your candidate knows how to source candidates, design an efficient interview process, manage an information tracking system, and effectively onboard large groups of new employees.

General interview questions (such as “Can you tell me about yourself?” and “Why are you looking for another job?”) are a great way to get to know your candidate’s personal history, interests and goals. However, be sure to add inquiries specific to the role they’re interviewing for, so you can gain valuable insights into their likelihood of success in that position. 

Below are Recruiter interview questions to help you get started: 

What drew you into a career as a Recruiter? 

What you want to hear: This response can give you excellent insight into your candidate’s motivations for pursuing this line of work. Look for a candidate who identifies as a “people person” and loves to network, and who recognizes the tremendous impact great staffing can have on an organization.  

Red Flag IconRed flag: A candidate who does not appear to enjoy the hustle of meeting people and maintaining a vast network of contacts is probably not well-suited for the role. Excellent Recruiters love what they do, and if your candidate indicates anything less that’s a red flag.

How do you create strong relationships with your candidates?

What you want to hear: Creating open and honest relationships with people is critical to the success of a Recruiter. Listen for how well your candidate describes their interpersonal and communication skills, techniques for data basing and following up with applicants, and professionally responding to applicant inquiries. Do they have stories about building long term relationships with specific individuals or can they describe their system for how they build a network of valuable contacts? 

Red Flag IconRed flag: Candidates who appear to be impatient, come across as uninformed, or rush conversations are likely to alienate the best applicants and leave a poor impression of your company in the marketplace of talent.  

What resources do you use to stay on top of new recruiting trends?

What you want to hear: Your candidate should be interested in constantly learning about industry trends, and should be able to readily discuss the resources they tap to do so. Complacent Recruiters fall behind in sourcing and acquiring the best candidate pools for a given position. New techniques and software are constantly hitting the market, and strong recruiters will be on top of learning about those advances. Make sure your candidate is passionate enough about what they’re doing to always stay “in the know”. 

Red Flag IconRed flag: If your candidate hasn’t developed new recruitment strategies by immersing themselves in available resources over the course of their career, it may be a red flag! This field is always evolving, and a successful Recruiter will always have their finger on the pulse of new trends. 

What data do you use to measure your success rate? 

What you want to hear: If your candidate is really serious about their work, they may use data and metrics to accurately determine how effective their recruiting strategies are working. For example, what types of job postings are most frequently read, what job boards attract the most candidates for a given role, what interview questions reveal the most about a candidate’s qualifications for a job, and the like. This kind of information can be extremely valuable to your company by short-cutting the trial and error process and reaching peak efficiency in the shortest amount of time.

Red Flag IconRed flag: Lack of knowledge about data and metrics can mean your candidate may not have the ideal amount of experience for your company. Without properly analyzing their efforts, they may repeatedly waste time on certain stages of the hiring process and unnecessarily extend your time to hire. 

Tell me about something you’ve learned that has impacted your success rate as a Recruiter.  

What you want to hear: A strong candidate is reflective on past performance and eager to try new approaches in the future. You want to hear a specific example of a new technique they employed, or a problem they solved, or a skill they developed that helped them achieve a different or improved outcome.

Red Flag Icon Red flag: In a constantly changing field, a candidate who is not motivated enough to challenge their own thinking and improve on what they’re doing is not bringing the best game to your company. It is important to find a candidate who is inspired by self improvement. 

In your past jobs, how have you managed to work effectively with difficult hiring managers? 

What you want to hear: Productive collaboration with hiring managers is crucial to being a successful Recruiter. Listening to how your candidate explains techniques for handling a difficult colleague can reveal how they will work with the differing personalities in your organization. Great candidates will remain calm and focused, support their positions with actual data or examples, and remain open to new ideas or actively investigate alternative solutions.

Red Flag IconRed flag: When faced with a difficult or overpowering hiring manager, an ineffective Recruiter will take things personally, get defensive, or let the co-worker drive the process when the Recruiter’s sound judgment suggests a different approach.  

Every interview question can help get you closer to the right fit for your Recruiter position.

Be sure to keep an eye out for candidates who:

  • Have a passion for networking and connecting with people
  • Have strong process management skills
  • Are knowledgeable or specialized in your field of interest